COLUMBIA — Just one player in South Carolina football history has ever won a postseason national award — running back George Rogers, who won the 1980 Heisman Trophy.
Jadeveon Clowney could make it two this season. On Thursday, the sophomore defensive end was named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded since 1993 to college football’s best defensive player.
The other finalists are Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.
Clowney has 9½ sacks this season, eighth nationally. He is one sack shy of breaking USC’s single-season record, shared by Andrew Provence (1982) and Melvin Ingram (2011). Clowney’s 17 tackles for loss are third-most nationally and three shy of breaking USC’s single-season record, held by Eric Norwood (2007).
Last month, Clowney was named a semifinalist for the Lombardi and Bednarik awards. The Lombardi goes to college football’s best lineman or linebacker. The Bednarik is another national defensive player of the year award.
In 2010, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers won the Nagurski Trophy. It will be presented Dec. 3 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, just up the road from Clowney’s hometown, Rock Hill.